Countdown to Book Launch: Entertaining Kids

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 3 and Counting!

Yesterday, I blogged about The Invites: who to invite to your book launch. I shared my rationale for sending out invitations. Today, I'll discuss how to entertain the children that may show up with their parents.

If you are launching a children's book, chances are you'll welcome the children who come, with open arms.  Arlie the Alligator is a children's story-song picture book. My fingers and toes are crossed hoping that parents will bring their kids.

But before I continue, let me digress to say that it's important that you have a plan, a goal, if you will, about your book launch. What do you want it to look like? What do you want it to accomplish? Who do you want to attend?

Your book launch can be as simple as having your books on a table with a short presentation, or as wild and crazy as your mind will allow. Even a chapter book, a middle-grade or a young adult novel book launch can have fun activities with food keyed to a theme in the book or a character's likes and dislikes. Let your creative mind flow. It's all up to you. But beware, even the simplest idea will take planning. And the better the plan, the greater the chances that the book launch you envision will happen.

One of my book launch goals, beyond selling books and introducing the new Arlie the Alligator to friends, local educators and their children, is to expose the greater community to the work I love doing; the work of writing. Another goal is for those who attend to have a good time.

I've built FUN into my book launch by having activities for children. I got the idea from Gretchen Griffith's Book Launch where she took activities from the pages of her new book, When Christmas Feels Like Home. At her launch, children were able to "make pumpkins smile," and "trees stand like skeletons."

On Saturday, young and old alike will be able to make an adorable Arlie the Alligator Hat.

When ever you have a make-it, take-it project, make sure the the craft is age-appropriate and then figure out how to involve children with maximum safety and the least amount of mess and stress. I determined that the alligator hats would be a simple idea and that even young children, with assistance, could make one.

Prior to the event, paper pattern pieces were cut out  for 55 alligator hats. Key parts were cut-in and marked for reference. Children will only have to color in Arlie's eyes. Assistants will measure each child's head and assemble the hats with staples--not to the heads of the children, of course!  The Arlie the Alligator Hat Pattern is a FREE download at

Young children will be able color a page with the outline of Arlie on it. The page also includes a word scramble that unscrambled spells Arlie. Download the Primary Coloring Sheet for Free at

In addition, children who attend will receive a hand made bookmark as well as an oval Arlie the Alligator Sticker. 

Both the bookmark and the stickers were made on a PC. A template was made for the bookmark and the stickers were made from a package of Avery Labels #22804

Two readings of Arlie the Alligator are scheduled during the 3-hour launch. While enjoying refreshments, children will also be able to listen to the Arlie's story fully produced with actors, sound effects and music on the Arlie the Alligator CD, while watching a power point slide show of the illustrations in the book.

These are the things I've planned for children. I do hope everyone has a good time.

Next Blog: Count down to Book Launch - Day 2: The food!

What kinds of activities did you have at your book launch? Would you do it again? What would you do differently?

I'd love to hear your ideas. Hopefully, this won't be the last book I launch.

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Joan Y. Edwards said...

How fun to invite so many to the big day and helping us share in your joy.

Have fun with it all!

Sandra Warren said...

Thanks Joan!

We've got the activities now we just need the bodies.


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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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